At its October Windows 10 event, Microsoft showed off a new taskbar-based My People feature. But tied to that is an improved Share experience, which can now be enabled (sort of) in Insider builds.
“We asked ourselves, what would it mean to prioritize our most important people in Windows?” Microsoft’s Allison O’Mahony asked during the October event. “With the Creators Update, we will give you a faster way to connect and share with the people who matter most on any Windows PC.”
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While understanding the new Share UI is easy enough, it’s helpful to understand the broader context of what’s happening. This new Share experience was announced as part of the new My People feature that will debut with the Windows 10 Creators Update.
As O’Mahony—who says she has spent much of her 15 years at Microsoft working on strong human connections through technology—put it, this new functionality is about placing people at the center of Windows. And, literally: Your most important contacts will now appear directly on the taskbar, and thus will always be visible and easily available.
This feature has three aims: To provide Window 10 users with a faster way to share, a simpler way to cut through the noise, and a new way to feel closer to the people who matter most to you. And as suggested by that list, sharing is indeed a key reason for surfacing your most important contacts this way. It’s the why behind the My People feature.
“Our goal is to make sharing in Windows as fast and easy as possible,” O’Mahony explained. “And while it’s not complicated today, there are a lot of steps involved. I still have to find the content, launch the (correct) application for the person I want to share it with, I have to find that person in the application, attach the content, and send.”
If you’re familiar with the Share feature in Windows 10, you know that it’s a vestigial holdover from Windows 8. That is, it still uses an old Windows 8-style pane interface that slides in from the right of the screen. So, for example, if you want to share a photo using the Photos app, you get the old-school UI show here.
This is finally going to change in the Windows 10 Creators Update. (And why it will take four major revisions of Windows 10, or six versions of Windows since the initial release of Windows 8, is unclear. But let’s just move on from that.)
As O’Mahony demonstrated in October, you will now be able to drag a file (and presumably multiple files/folders) directly onto a people icon in the taskbar. When you do, a new Share UI will pop-up, right at the location of the contact. There’s no special keyboard shortcut to learn, no app to run, no hunting and pecking.
As seen in the demo, you’re able to add a message to the content you’re sharing, and here they can choose between email and Skype choices; presumably, those choices will expand as you add apps that can share.
And the new Share UI will not be limited to those contact icons in the taskbar, O’Mahony says. It will also work from “any application” (that supports Share) in Windows 10. She showed off how this would work in the Photos app, go figure. (Oddly enough, she called this “the Share charm,” which is a Windows 8 term that is, frankly, also incorrect in this usage. But whatever.)
OK, so that’s all very interesting. More interesting, perhaps, is that this functionality is now hidden in recent Windows Insider builds. So those on the Fast ring can unlock a mostly-broken version of the new Share experience and see it for themselves.
MSPowerUser has the steps needed, plus a simpler downloadable REG file for more trusting souls. And on that note, thanks to MSPoweruser’s Mehedi Hassan for first publishing information about enabling the new Share experience.
I suspect we’ll see this appear in an Insider build soon, possibly even this week.